Ask yourself the following question: What really makes you happy? Money? Friends? Love? That’s the question that J. Cole immediately asks you in the intro of 2014 Forest Hills Drive and it is (to me at least) the central theme of this masterpiece of an album. This is an album that you leave in the stock order; DON’T EVEN THINK ABOUT HITTING THE SHUFFLE BUTTON!!!!! 2014 Forest Hills Drive is a movie…but instead of a camera there is a microphone with Cole being the director/writer/hole damn crew. It’s not PG-13 flick like Born Sinner was, nor is it an X-Rated WTFFWT (What the Flying F**K Was That) that old Eminem Albums were. And on top of that, there aren’t any special guests in this album! It’s a mature, 100% J. Cole ONLY album. It’s like a Christopher Nolan movie, except better!
Like I stated above, this is an album that deserves to be played in order. The layout of the songs is artfully done. Every song transitions into next one flawlessly, like the scenes of a movie do. Sure, some of the transitions are a little blunt, like between ’03 Adolescence and A Tale of 2 Citiez, but the content and lyrics tie together perfectly between songs! This isn’t only an album, it’s f*****g art! The beats are a perfect complement to Cole’s vocals; contemporary but far from boring. You could be blasting the instrumentals of these songs in a blacked out Rolls Royce through Wall Street and actually go off as sophisticated.
2014 Forest Hill Drive starts off strong, and keeps on pulling till the end. The tracks January 28th, Wet Dreamz, ’03 Adolescence, and Tale of 2 Citiez pull you in like a GTR pulls off the line with launch control. These tracks are juvenile, transporting us to time where Cole was young and in wonderment, raising questions that we may ask ourselves. Fire Squad and Apparently are the weakest parts of this album, not because they are bad songs, but because I feel that they somewhat deviate from the underlying story of this album. They feel like filler, something to add length. Fortunately, the rest of album gets back to pulling you towards the all-encompassing end. Like a good movie, the end takes samples from the previous scenes and ties them back to a relatable conclusion.
Honestly, this album is really good, too good. I enjoy all of the songs and wouldn’t mind listening to any of them, but here are my favorite tracks (in no particular order):
This song reminds me of Work Out, but is a lot more mature and raw. You could be in high school, college, even elementary school (though I’d be judging you hard if you were) and relate to this song in some way.
This is buddy song. A song that probably describes your best friend. Even though you both screw around a lot, you both got your backs even when time are rough
A Tale of 2 Citiez
A graphic depiction of city life. No not really, more so an accurate description of what young kids want (money, cars, city life) except this track glorifies the dark sides. The doubt, pain, and revenge.
In case your wondering, it stands for “Get off My D**k”. This is a fun song, and yet it actually has a meaning and purpose behind it. Basically be yourself and don’t let others tell you otherwise.
The last true song on the album, and in my opinion the best. The thing is, you have to listen to the whole album (entirely) to get the full effect of this song. This song is basically telling you to love your own life, no matter how good others live may seem. A really impactful message to end a really strong album.
This is an album that takes you on an aural journey. It invokes your senses, and gets you thinking about your own life. This is the perfect album to just fall asleep to, because you’re going to have one vivid dream. It’s an auditory movie that deserves a Grammy. J. Cole’s 2014 Forest Hills Drive gets a 9.25/10. It’s brilliant.